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How To Stop Sticky Soprano Sax Keys

Soprano saxophone is awesome! It's fun to play and can sound warmscreamin' or crystalline. But, the soprano sax G# key pad is notoriously sticky. The Low C# is also prone to sticking.

Why do soprano sax keys stick so much?

  • Soprano saxophone is played less often than other saxes so it has more time to rot in the case.
  • The body tube is smaller allowing moisture to trap inside more easily. If you want perspective on how smaller bore makes for sticky keys, just talk to an oboe player.
  • Soprano sax is a "doubler" horn that is often brought on stage, played aggressively for a few minutes, and then set back on the sax stand wet. That's a recipe for stick.
  • Soprano sax is like most other saxes that suffer stuck Eb, G# and Low C# keys - those keys are closed on the tone hole vent to rot faster than open pads. More on this here.
How do you stop sticky keys on your soprano sax?
  • Always use a quality sax swab to clean your horn after playing. Always!
  • Place a Key Leaves soprano key prop under the Low C# and Low Eb after you play. That opens the Eb, C# and G# pads to air dry (because G# and C# are linked). It only takes a few seconds but is proven to help prevent sticking.

  • Store your sax at room temperatures whenever possible. This helps prevent big humidity changes that over time encourage metal corrosion and pad wear.

If the sax pad keeps sticking...

Find a trusted band instrument repair tech near you and follow their advice. All sax pads eventually wear out and a great tech can fix up your sax so you sound your best.

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